Tag Archives: Onions

Town & Country – Farm & Ranch Stores

I reside in USDA zone 7. My last average last frost date is about the 10th of April.
Armed with that trivial information and my nifty little computer generated calender, I have determined that it’s only 61 days until it’s relative safe to plant frost sensitive vegetables.

Fruit trees are breaking bud and will be in full bloom in a week or so. Ornamental shrubs, trees and spring flowering plants will soon burst into full bloom.

Guess what gang. Stores that sell things like vegetable seed and seedlings, things like tomato’s, peppers, onion sets, potato sets are putting out displays of nice looking seedlings for gardeners that don’t have a clue about last frost dates and those that truly believe that because we have had a week of frost free weather, winter has come to an end.

Gardeners thinking with their eyes and an over whelming desire to plant this years vegetable garden will invest a lot of money in seed and seedlings. In a week or so weather will return to it’s normal temperatures, seed will fail to germinate because the soil is to cool for most seed to germinate and seedlings will be killed when temperatures fall below 32%(0% C) for several hours or even several days.

Don’t fall for mother natures winter tricks.

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USDA Hardness Zone 6 & 7, Up Coming Projects

Only 40 more days of Winter ‘with luck’ , Equinox (Spring) arrives on my Tiny Farm Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM CDT. My last average Frost date is April 10th.
As of this morning my 2 inch and 4 inch soil temperatures were 45F and 46F. That is the signal that I can soon safely start putting out Garlic and Onion sets. Start planting Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Turnips, Spinach and Beet seed can be planted.

If the air temperature gets warm enough I will venture out into the garden and finish fall clean up. I still have plant litter to burn and some materials to be put on the compost pile. Gas up the tiller and ready seed beds for planting this springs vegetable crops.

As a side note, I discovered 4 potato’s sprouting in my potato bin. My soil is not well suited for growing potato’s but I do have four 6 gallon buckets that will be recycled and used as potato growing containers this year.
I know Master Gardeners say “don’t plant sprouting supermarket potato’s.” However it’s either plant them or they will be chicken food!
Smiling, hard to find anything better than fresh new potato’s to compliment a mess of fresh picked peas or beans.

Projects that may not be on your radar.
Zone 6
* Sow seeds in starter pots for Spring planting.
* Prune fruit/nut trees, grape vines, rose bushes and berry patches to remove winter damage.
* Feed cool-season lawns.
** If you use a preeminence lawn treatment to prevent weed seed from germinating February is a good time to make that treatment. Carefully follow package instruction for proper application.
* Removing winter mulch and lightly cultivating soil.
* Sow seeds for cool weather vegetables (late February to mid-March)
* Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors.
* Divide and replant summer and fall blooming perennials(when soil is warm enough to be easy to work).
* Plant bare root and container roses, trees and fruiting vines.

Zone 7
* Sow seeds of warm-season annuals in starter pots.
* Set out summer flowering bulbs
* Plant fall blooming bulbs
* Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare root fruit trees and fruiting vines.
* Apply dormant spray to fruit trees before buds swell.
* Spray apples, peaches, and pears that have been affected with canker problems.
* Plant seedlings of cool-weather vegetables(check your soil temperature).
* Sow seeds for frost tolerant perennials.
* Sow seeds for hardy perennials.
* Plant container, balled-and-burlappedand bare-root trees, shrubs, vines and roses.
* Plant summer blooming shrubs and vines.
* Plant frost tolerant trees.
* Plant conifers and broad-leaf evergreens.

Turn the compost pile, add any soiled hay, grass, bedding and manure mulch which was removed from livestock barns, shelters, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t have a compost pile! Now is a good time to start one.

Clean and disinfect livestock barns, sheds, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t forget to disinfect water and feed containers. Clean and disinfect nest boxes add new nesting materials to nest boxes. If necessary spray inside walls, floor, ceiling, nest boxes and roost to control mites.

Repair winter damaged fences and gates. Check barns, sheds, hutches and coops for winter damage, repair as necessary.

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Freezing Homegrown Tomato’s Is Easy

Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins).

Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked dishes such as soups, sauces and stews. Tomatoes become mushy when they’re thawed for use.

To quickly freeze raw tomatoes without blanching them first.Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed.
Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving not ate the time they are prepared for freezing. Freezing may strengthen or weaken seasonings flavors such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Washing tomatoes, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Washing tomatoes in a sink filled with water is not recommended since contaminated water can be absorbed through the fruit’s stem scar. The use of soap or detergent is not recommended for washing fruits and vegetables because they can absorb detergent residues.

Dry them well by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels on: Wash and clean tomatoes as described above.
Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze.
Note Tomatos may be placed directly in bags and frozen. Limit the number of tomato’s in each bag to the number anticipated for 1 meal or dish.

Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly.
Using frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm/hot tap water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and then freeze as described above.

Source Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins)

Source Freezing Tomatoes – National Center for Home Food Preservation

Approximate Yields for Canned or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Raw Products Measure & Weight Approximate Quart Jars or Containers Needed Approximate Pounds Needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container
Apples 1 bushel (48 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Apples (for sauce) 1 bushel (48 pounds) 15 to 18 2½ to 3½
Apricots 1 lug (24 pounds) 9 to 12 2 to 2½
Berries (except strawberries & cranberries) 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 18 1½ to 3 (1- to 2-quart boxes)
Cantaloupes 1 crate (60 pounds)   1 large melon
(with stems)
1 bushel (56 pounds) 22 to 32 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
1 lug (box) (15 pounds) 6 to 7 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
Cranberries 1 bushel (100 pounds) 100 1
1 box (25 pounds) 25 1
Figs 1 box (6 pounds) 2 to 3 2 to 2½
Grapes 1 bushel (48 pounds) 10 to 12 4
Grapes, Western 1 lug (28 pounds) 7 to 8 4
Grapes, Eastern 12 – quart basket (18 pounds) 3 to 4 4
4 – quart basket (6 pounds) 1 4
Florida, Texas &
1 bag or ½ box (40 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 6 fruits
1 box (65 pounds) 8 to 13 4 to 6 fruits
Nectarines Flat (18 pounds) 6 to 9 2 to 3
Peaches 1 bushel (50 pounds) 19 to 25 2 to 2½
Pears 1 bushel (50 pounds) 20 to 25 2 to 2½
1 box (46 pounds) 19 to 23 2 to 2½
1 crate (22 pounds) 8 to 11 2 to 2½
Pineapple (with top) 1 crate (70 pounds) 20 to 28 2½  (2 average)
Plums 1 crate (70 puunds) 28 to 35 2 to 2½
1 bushel (56 pounds) 24 to 30 2 to 2½
Rhubarb 15 pounds 7 to 11 2
Strawberries 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 16 6 to 8 cups
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 23 2½ to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 9 to 12 2½ to 3½
Tomatoes (for juice) 1 bushel (53 pounds) 12 to 16 3 to 3½
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 20 3 to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 8 to 10 3 to 3½
Asparagus 1 bushel (24 pounds) 8 to 12 2 to 3
1 crate (30 pounds) 10 to 15 2 to 3
Beans, lima
(in pods)
1 bushel (30 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 5
Beans, green or wax 1 bushel (30 pounds) 15 to 20 1½ to 2
Beets (without tops) 1 bushel (52 pounds) 17 to 20 2½ to 3
Broccoli 1 crate (25 pounds) 10 to 12 2 to 3
Brussels Sprouts 4 quarts 1 to 1½ 2
Cabbage 1 bag or 1 crate (50 pounds) 16 to 20> 2½ to 3
Cabbage, Western 1 crate (80 pounds) 26 to 32 2½ to 3
(without tops)
1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Cauliflower 1½-bushel crate (37 pounds) 12 to 18 2 medium heads
Corn, Sweet
(in husks)
1 bushel (35 pounds) 8 to 9 (as kernels) 4 to 5
Cucumbers 1 bushel (48 pounds) 24 to 30 1½ to 2
Eggplant 1 bushel (33 pounds)> 15 to 18 2 average
Greens 1 bushel (18 pounds) 8 to 9 2 to 3
Okra 1 bushel (30 pounds) 19 to 21
Peas, Field 1 bushel (25 pounds) 6 to 7 3½ to 4

Peas, Green
(in pods)

1 bushel (30 pounds) 6 to 8 4 to 5
Peppers 1 bushel (25 pounds) 17 to 21 1¹⁄3
Potatoes, Irish 1 bushel (60 pounds) 18 to 22 2½ to 3
Pumpkin     1½ to 3
Spinach 1 bushel (20 pounds) 4 to 9 2 to 6
Squash (Summer) 1 bushel (40 pounds) 16 to 20 2 to 3
Squash (Winter)     3
Sweet Potatoes (cured) 1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 25 2 to 3

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Happy Days – My Garden Weeds Are Getting Sick

grape vine 2015 In Southwest Oklahoma it mostly stopped raining May of 2008. I think our long running dry spell has been sent into the history books. So far this month my tiny garden has received more than 15 inches(380mm) of rain. Another storm pasted over head last evening dumping 3/4 of an inch in less than 30 minutes.

The garden seed people are loving the thunder storm. Every time I plant squash and cucumbers it comes a hard rain and washes my seed out of the ground. I’m getting a lot of experience in planting / replanting garden seed.

If I can get a full day of sunshine I will re-re-replant squash and cucumbers. Maybe it will dry out enough before the forecast weekend thunder storms arrive to replant my okra patch as well.
It may even get dry enough that I can hoe a few of my unwanted plants like johnson grass!

Grin … one good side benefit of all this May rain is it is killing many of the weeds that have taken up home in my garden plot. It seems that careless weeds(pig weed), bind weed(wild morning glory) and henbit do not like their roots setting in water or really wet soil. However, ragweed doesn’t seem to be effected by the wet soils.

Grape vine update, All three vines have leafed out and are sending out runners. At this rate I will need to get my trellis up this summer to start training my vines.

corn may 2015 Corn is setting ears, but, the rain keeps washing away my fertilizer applications faster than I can apply the fertilized. FYI – I’m using a NPK, 13-13-13 shotgun blast approach. Clay soil is generally low in nitrogen. That’s the reason for the 13 percent nitrogen content approach to amending garden fertility.

Tomato’s are not looking well. Roots have been setting in wet soil and they are beginning to really suffer.
Onions still in the ground have started to rot and I have decided to plant more pumpkins in the area now taken up by my failing onion crop.

As a side note. I have noticed the my hens and pullets have started growing web feet.

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Rain Water 100 % Better Than Tap Water

Two days of 50 and 60 degree weather and almost 2 inches of rain. Radishes seem to double in size and onions have shot up by at least 2 inches or more in the past 2 days. Grin … that’s a good thing. Tomato’s seedlings have stalled out and are waiting for warmer weather to resume growing.

With this nice rain, soil is wet enough that I will plant a short row of Detroit beets and another row of Turnips. I’m not a big fan of turnip roots but I do like young tender beet and turnip greens.

Today is a good day to empty, clean and refill my hummingbird feeders.

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Mud On My Feet Is Better Than Sand In My Eyes

Weather man must have been asleep at his computer terminal. We are getting a un-forecast rain. Since 2:15AM I have received 1.15 inches of rain. Well it’s not me most rain I have ever had, but, it’s the most I have had in a very long time.

I had to construct a new blade for my old horse drawn road grader(built around 1905). I finely have taken time to design the mounting brackets, welded the brackets to the back side of the blade and have it bolted to the blade table. That’s the part that allows me to rotate the blade left to right as well as tilt the blade.

I think all I still need to do is to build and mount a tongue so the road grader can be pulled behind a tractor or pick-up truck. A good paint job and it will make a Grin … an interesting yard ornament.
The horse drawn Lister re-build has been finished and it is still waiting a paint job. After they are painted I will post pictures of both.

In the garden, Sunday I pulled enough container grown Radishes and Green Onions to top off a nice dinner salad. Beets are still a bit to small to harvest.
I have 6 pots with grape tomato seedlings and 2 pots of better girl tomato’s about 3/4 inch tall. I will plant then in the garden after they have set their first ‘true’ leafs.

During the winter I constructed a 50 foot long drip watering line. Emitters are spaced about every 2 feet. This summers garden experiment I will plant tomato’s every 4 feet and plant cucumbers, yellow squash or zucchini between each tomato vine. I think mostly cucumbers and tomato’s.

In a week or so the soil temperature will be warm enough to direct garden plant my warm weather plants, cucumbers, squash and okra.

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Severe Weather Season – Arrived Today

Day one of our official severe weather season started today. Grin … true to form my WX guy said.

*Severe Weather Possible Today.
An active evening may be in store as a strong cold front heads for Texoma(Northwest Texas / Southwest Oklahoma). Expect increasing south winds today and a very warm afternoon with highs in the low 80s north to upper 80s south. Scattered severe storms may develop as early as 4-5 PM for northwestern Texoma and then form into a line this evening before exiting the area by 10-11 PM. Storms may contain large hail and damaging winds and there is a small chance of a (few) tornado’s. Wind gusts to 60 mph may be possible behind the front.

Grape Vine Planting Up-Date

Bare root vines planted 8 or 9 days ago. The 2 seedless concord vines are budding out. The red skin Flame vine is still plyable but has not yet set any buds.
Flame is out. Next time I will buy a different variety of seedless red skin grape to replace this non performing variety.

Corn Planting. There was enough seed in the package to plant six, 6 foot long rows. I have found that almost all vegetable crops benefit from being planted side by side in short rows over 1 or 2 long rows. Pollination is better in this arrangement.

I’m off to double check and secure anything that may me moved from my house to the south 40 by the forecasts high winds.

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Where Have All The Hummingbirds Gone?

About 10 days ago I made a batch of sugar water(1 cup sugar, 4 cups water) and hung my Hummingbird feeders. Before dark I had 2 pair of Ruby Throat Hummingbirds finding and feeding from my new feeders.

Then the next day I had the start of a few days of overcast, cooler weather. Hummingbirds must have gone back to Mexico, They because they are no longed feeding at my new feeders! However I do have 4 or 5 pair of Eurasian Doves coming twice a day to feed, a few Red Wing Black birds and a pair of Red birds.

It’s almost mid-week and the sun is shining, temperature is bumping 80 degrees, but the west wind is holding steady at 30 mph gusting to 35 or 40 mph. Not really a nice day to garden.

On the brighter side, many of the onion sets I planted in my patio pots are shooting bright green shoots skyward. A few Radish seeds and Beet seed have germinated and are showing the promise of making a fresh spring time salad. Fresh green onions, radish and beets. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Pear, Apple, Cherry, Peach and Apricot trees are in full bloom every where you look. Mesquite trees are setting bugs. Mesquite trees seldom get fooled and get hit with a late freeze. So, taking my lead from my old Mesquite tree. Today sweet corn will be planted. Early planted corn has a better chance of avoiding being attack by ear and root worms.

The wheat and cereal rye seed son-n-law drilled (8 acres) in late last fall is up and providing good grazing for our livestock. I had almost decided that we had not received enough rain for get a crop up. But I think that slow melting be had in late January did the trick.

I’m off like a shot in the dark. Corn seed in hand.

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Alfalfa – Sweet Feed – Onions And Grapes

I always enjoy going to my local farm store. The smells of alfalfa hay, range cubes and sweet feed, wow, doesn’t get much better than that.

Grapes for the table. I managed to get my tiny grape orchard planted today. Only 3 vines, 2 purple skin seedless Concord grapes and 1 red skin Flame. Trellis end poles have been marked and pole holes will be dug. I will soon set the poles and stretch my trellis wires.

Onions every where. 80 red and 80 white onion sets are in my large patio pots. They were planted very close together. I will use these as small fresh onions. Much as I would use scallions.
I will plant another 160 yellow onions in the garden and allow then to grow to full maturity. Harvest and store for use next fall and winter.

Grin… Yes I did get my garden fence moved and re-erected to keep Poco D. Horse and Jack D. Donkey out of my garden.

We are still in what the weather service (NOAA) has deemed Exceptional Drought. Soils are bone dry and this clay turns brick hard when it dries out. Today the wind was from the west/southwest and humidifies were around 10 percent.

It is time to stock up on my garden seed. My garden will be small and selections will be based on their temperature and water requirements.
Shortly my soil temperature should be bumping 65 degrees. Today at 4 inches deep my soil temperature was 61 degrees. Last frost is generally the first week of April, but, if the seed has not sprouted they will not be effected ‘much’ by a short lived cold blast.

The long range (14 day) forecast, highs in the mid 60’s to low 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s to low 50’s. So if the weather man hasn’t screwed up I plan to plant sweet corn this coming weekend. I am planting 2 varieties of sweet corn and will plant a second crop 2 week after my first planting to extend my corn harvest season.

Planting such a small garden this year I think I can get by with buying one 40 pound bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer this year.

Off on another subject. Saturday I built a 4 foot wide walk gate for son-n-law and daughter to be installed in the barb wire fence near the ‘soon to be’ new pig pen. At last count they have 1 Yorkshire, 1 Duroc and 2 trapped wild piglets.
Wild pigs do not generally grow more than 100 or 125 pounds but are excellent to split down the back and BBQ 1/2 pig at a time on our BBQ/smoker.

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Winters Last Blast?

march snow It’s damn cold and the ground is covered with a thin sheet of ice, a 1/4 of sleet and then about 2 inches of March snow. Brrrrrr.
My weather guy said that temperatures will be in the 60’s by Saturday/Sunday and in the low 70’s by middle of next week.

My onion sets (160 of them) are setting in the bottom of the refrigerator waiting for a few warm days so I can till my garden plot one more time before planting my onion patch. I have red and yellow onion sets but will buy another 160 sets of white onions after the soil is warm and dry enough for a second planting of onions. I’m trying to space planting dates so all of my onions are not harvest ready on the same day this summer.

The warm fall weather caused my garlic patch to sprout and was about 3 inches tall when our first really cold blast arrived. Garlic has been killed back to ground level. I’m hoping that it will recover and still produce a useable size garlic harvest.

shop-framing My son-n-laws(SNL) work shop was erected by myself, son-n-law, #1 grandson with the help from SNL’s sister and his brother-n-law on an old existing concrete slab where a few years back a small wood frame house stood. It appears that the slab had been mixed and poured by hand. Really a bad concrete job. Very un-level and so many cracks and chip-outs that it was almost unusable.

shop-dryed-in We (Grin mostly he) spent several days sweeping, chipping out bad spots and power washing to ready it for us to pour a 2 inch thick quality (4,500 PSI) concrete cap. Truck arrived, dumped his load of concrete where we wanted it and (Son-n-law and #1 grandson) spread and finished the floor cap. Looks really good. It’s now smooth free of large cracks and chip-outs. Very nice useable work shop floor.

If you care, that thing sticking out of the shop door is a 12 ft long rabbit hutch that I converted into a pig shed.

What else has been going on? O-Yes, finished the homemade coal blacksmith forge (Pictures to soon be posted) I was making for #1 grandson.
With a little ‘free’ old man advice, #1 grandson hot forged a cheap Chinese made file into a nice hunting knife. Really good looking for his first attempt. (Knife picture to soon be posted) I’m very proud of him.

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